Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth

Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth
Click on the cover for information about the book. Available to order now.

29 September 2011

Day in the (Dorset) Life

Dorset Life magazine ran a feature about the historic connection between The Beatles and Bournemouth in its September issue. It's now available to view online here.

27 September 2011

Tell Me Why

photo courtesy of Beatles Days

It's always great to see them, but it was especially kind of Howie and Sheila Casey to pop their heads round the door at Sunday's launch event and Beatles Day at the Bournebeat Hotel as they'd been out gigging the night before! 
Howie wrote the foreword to Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth and both have shared memories of playing with The Beatles and being around the Fab Four.
They weren't the only ones to ask me why I thought it was a good idea a book about The Beatles' connections to Bournemouth. 
I ended up telling the Daily Echo in a feature I wrote for them which has been published today and appears on their website with a lovely comment from Aunt Mimi's former milkman. 
But in case you missed it, here's the text...

OF all the things to write your first book about, why choose The Beatles?
After all, millions of words and thousands of books have already been written about the group whose recorded output is the closest we have to a universal language. There’s barely a place on the planet where The Beatles are unknown and not a second passes without their music being played by someone somewhere.
In that sense The Beatles left their mark on Bournemouth the same as anywhere, but what has rarely been acknowledged is how much events in Bournemouth contributed to the history of what many consider the greatest rock ’n’ roll group of them all.
Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth makes those connections and cements them with a wealth of previously unpublished photographs.
As an ambitious and shrewdly managed young group, The Beatles were made incredibly accessible to the press in 1963 and 1964. Freelance photographer Harry Taylor made the most of that access, but the Bournemouth Times published only a handful of the shots he took of The Beatles in their dressing room or hotel, at dinner, even partying after a show at the Gaumont.
The Beatles finished touring in 1966, a year after John Lennon had bought his aunt Mimi a harbourside home at Sandbanks where she lived until her death in 1991. Having spoken to people who spent time with her there, I think history has been cruel to the woman portrayed as a manipulative snob in Sam Taylor-Wood’s film Nowhere Boy. In words and photos they recall her as a charming, private woman who couldn’t quite separate John Lennon’s fame from the little boy she brought up from the age of five.
In many ways, this is the most intriguing aspect of the story because it is the most unknowable. The truth has long been clouded by history so all we have left is interpretation and, as such, it neatly encapsulates the continuing fascination with all things Beatles.
I’ve spent most of my adult life writing about music and many other things in and around Bournemouth and heard dozens of stories about the times The Beatles came to town. I’m not alone in finding each new one as gripping as the last, at once prosaic and enthralling. I don’t need to know that John, George and Ringo had steak and chips, but Paul had a lightly-poached egg on toast when they stopped at Asker’s Hotel between Dorchester and Bridport on November 13, 1963 – but I’m oddly glad that I do.
I’m still not sure if I found The Beatles or they found me. Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released on my first birthday (June 1, 1967), but it was years before I heard it as mum and dad weren’t interested. And yet they had three early Beatles singles in the radiogram and by the time I was six or seven I was in the habit of taping a hairbrush to the Ewbank carpet cleaner to make a mic and stand and miming along to I Want To Hold Your Hand, Can’t Buy Me Love and I Feel Fine.
Back then, yesterday was so far away that anything before that belonged in a history lesson. I made little distinction between 1963 and 1863… it was a black and white world of before now, long ago and far away. I’ve still got those records..
Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth is available in paperback by Natula Publications, price £17.95. Available at

26 September 2011

Echo magazine feature

Saturday's Daily Echo Magazine carried a two-page cover story by features writer Pat Gough about Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth, complete with a selection of Harry Taylor's photos. In case you missed it, here's the text...

BEATLEMANIA is set to return with the release of a new book that charts the Fab Four in Bournemouth.
Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth by author Nick Churchill offers a complete account of The Beatles’ connections to the town.
It turns out that Bournemouth was closely involved in the infancy of The Beatles. Yes, you did read that correctly.
While Liverpool was where the fledgling Fab Four played early gigs under such names as The Quarrymen and The Silver Beetles, The Beatles played the Bournemouth Gaumont more often Bournemouth than any other UK theatre outside
London, even though Bournemouth seems as far from the group’s north-west origins as The Frog Chorus is from Twist and Shout.
Yet while Dorset can lay little claim to spawning the world’s biggest pop group, the region hosted some crucial – and less-than-crucial, though interesting – episodes as the Beatle legend unfolded here, there and everywhere.
Just ask former Bournemouth Daily Echo journalist Nick Churchill who has unearthed stories of Bournemouth Beatles lore and eyewitness accounts before they disappeared forever.
“Most people’s reactions were that they didn’t know there were any strong connections. There’s nothing in the town to mark the association with The Beatles, let alone that Beatlemania ever happened here,” says Nick.
The Beatles played four Bournemouth engagements in the early 1960s. The first, at the Gaumont, involved two shows a night for six days back in August 1963.
“They were already big stars in the UK at this point, with recent single From Me To You at the top of the charts. As for Beatlemania, there was a bit of screaming, but it was all quite sweet-natured,” says Nick.
“The audience was mainly teenagers, but there are reports of curious holidaymakers wandering in and buying tickets,” he added.
While on their first jaunt to Bournemouth, The Beatles had time to shoot the artwork for their second album, With The Beatles.
The sleeve featured Robert Freeman’s iconic half-shadow photos taken in the restaurant at the Palace Court Hotel in Westover Road during the Beatles’ week-long summer residency at the Gaumont.
Also at the Palace Court, George Harrison penned Don’t Bother Me, his first Beatles song, while confined to his room with a nasty cold.
In a letter written to a fan at the time, Harrison expressed his views on the screaming: ‘We don’t mind girls screaming in the noisy numbers, but I think we would prefer them to be a little quieter in the slow songs’.”
As for the actual shows, The Beatles headlined a bill that included Billy J Kramer and The Dakotas, Tommy Quickly, Gary and Lee, The Sons of Piltdown Men, compere Billy Baxter and light entertainers the Glamorous Lanas and Tommy Wallis & Beryl.
Luckily, the chief technician at the Gaumont recorded one of the Bournemouth shows for his own personal use.
This tape, bought by Apple in 1998, is thought to be the only high-quality concert recording from the period and has never seen the light of day.
The Beatles second appearance, at the Winter Gardens on November 16, created media interest from around the world. American film crews from CBS, NBC and ABC were all present to capture the action.
The audiences were far wilder than those at the Gaumont, all but drowning out the group who had been driven to the Winter Gardens in an unmarked police van. One Beatle fan was so hysterical that she had to be treated in hospital.”
Six months later the Fab Four were back at the Gaumont on August 2, 1964. By this point, Beatle fever had started to spread across the globe with A Hard Day’s Night in cinemas and a full US tour in the offing.
The final show, at The Gaumont again, on October 30, 1964, marked the final
Bournemouth appearance by the Moptops.
The final shows were part of a UK tour that saw them champion the music of black America that had influenced their songwriting from the earliest days. Support act Mary Wells was the first Motown act to perform in the UK.”
No sooner had The Beatles said hello, than it was goodbye to Bournemouth and the last they ever saw of the legendary group.
Although individual band members continued to frequent the seaside town as Nick Churchill explains.
Lennon bought a seafront bungalow home at Sandbanks in 1965 for his beloved Aunt Mimi, who brought him up following the death of his mother.
The Beatle famously phoned her every day and made regular visits to Dorset to visit her.
Paul returned to Bournemouth in the 70s with his band Wings and of course Ringo continues to visit and was here at the BIC this year.”
Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth by Nick Churchill is available now from

22 September 2011

Launch day special

So many people have been so helpful in the research, writing and production of Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth that we've decided to give a little back by making the book available at a special launch day price of £15 - only at Sunday's Beatles Day event at the Bournebeat Hotel in Priory Road, Bournemouth from 11am.
We're also producing colour copies of the poster advertising The Beatles' summer season at the Gaumont in August 1963 and will be giving away a free poster with every book sold on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Daily Echo has features on the book scheduled to appear on Friday, Saturday and next Tuesday.

21 September 2011

Good Bay Sunshine

Bournemouth and Poole community radio station The Bay invited me to join Breakfast Show presenter Paul Stevens this morning to talk about all things Beatles, Bournemouth and book. Click here to listen.

19 September 2011

Born a poor young country boy...

Thanks to the good souls at Country Calling for connecting Beatles' fans in the West Country to Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth, here.
The site rounds up all the good stuff that happens out West, from food and fun to gigs and all things Green.
Look out for the Magical Mystical Cider Tour, talking music with Adrian Edmondson & the Bad Shepherds and country living with Pearl Lowe, wife of Supergrass drummer Danny Goffey.

11 September 2011

Bournemouth: The Epstein Connection

Design © Tom Murphy

Brian Epstein's father Harry died on holiday in Bournemouth on 7 July 1967 after suffering a heart attack.
The news shattered Brian who had only just come out of rehab at the Priory clinic where he had been treated for acute insomnia. With his brother Clive he returned to Liverpool to be with their distraught mother Queenie.
But Harry's funeral at the Greenbank Drive Synagogue was followed just a few weeks later by another - that of Brian himself who was found dead at home in Chapel Street, London on 27 August 1967. 
It was a sad end to the man who had shrewdly masterminded the ascent of The Beatles from rough-hewn rock 'n' rollers to showbiz charmers and ultimately found them the space in which their creativity could truly flourish. For many commentators Brian's death marked the beginning of the end for The Beatles. Without Eppy there was no-one to mediate and the group was consumed by petty disputes and bickering.
Incredibly, Brian's memory has never been publicly honoured in his home city of Liverpool and a campaign has grown up in recent years to create a permanent statue in memory of his legacy.
After months of pressure, Liverpool City Council has given permission for a bronze statue and plinth to Brian's memory to be put up in the garden of Epstein House - Brian's childhood home in Anfield Road which is now run as a guest house and home to the world's largest collection of Epstein memorabilia.
The statue has been designed by highly-regarded LIverpool sculptor Tom Murphy whose previous works include statues of John Lennon, Bill Shankly, Billy Fury, Ken Dodd, Harold Wilson and Dixie Dean.
'As you can see it will be more than just Brian Samuel Epstein RIP, Tom Murphy also plans to add three dimensional work of the Fab Four in the upright plinth,' says Patrick Duggan of Epstein House.
Campaigners have now begun fundraising to pay for the statue.
Find out more here.

2 September 2011

An update

photo by Harry Taylor © Dave Robinson

Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth is the definitive account of the connections between the greatest rock ’n’ roll group that ever was and a small town on the south coast of England.
- In just 14 months from August 1963 to October 1964 The Beatles played more shows at the Bournemouth Gaumont than any other concert venue in the UK outside London.
- A tape of a full Beatles concert recorded during their first visit to Bournemouth is the earliest known example of their theatre show. Despite the excellent quality of the recording it remains unreleased.
- The iconic cover photograph for the With The Beatles and Meet The Beatles albums was taken in Bournemouth.
- Howie Casey, who played with Wings in the 1970s and has lived in Bournemouth since 1978, has links with The Beatles that go back to their very earliest days. With his band The Seniors, Howie was at the same audition in 1960 when John, Paul and George first performed as the Silver Beatles. The Seniors were the first Liverpool band to go to Hamburg, paving the way for The Beatles.
- The first American TV audiences saw of The Beatles was not the Ed Sullivan Show as is widely believed, but film from the band’s appearance at the Winter Gardens, Bournemouth two months before.
- George Harrison’s first Beatles song, Don’t Bother Me was written while staying in Bournemouth.
- John Lennon bought his Aunt Mimi a home just outside Bournemouth and until he left the UK in 1971 was a regular visitor to the area.
- The story told in The Ballad of John and Yoko began while John was travelling to Mimi’s house before he ended up “standing in the dock at Southampton”

- Launched in August 1963, Beatles Monthly conducted its first extensive interviews and photo shoots with the band in Bournemouth, forging a relationship that resulted in the magazine being published for almost 30 years.

With many previously unpublished and rare photographs of The Beatles taken in Bournemouth, photos licensed from Beatles Monthly and private images of Mimi at home, the story is told using first-hand accounts from the people who were there – the fans, reporters, photographers, venue staff and musicians. 

Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth is published on 22 September 2011 by Natula Publications, ISBN 9781897887899.

Pre-publication orders are being taken now at